Ajax cruise to victory in Rotterdam
Last week, Ajax were crowned champions of the Netherlands for the 35th time, which meant that they went into the ‘De Klassieker’ with just bragging rights to play for. Feyenoord were sitting in fifth, still chasing a place in the UEFA Conference League .
After a slow start to the game, the first chance fell to the hosts but Bryan Linssen’s tame attempt was saved by Maarten Stekelenburg. 10 minutes later, a fluid Ajax move saw them open up Feyenoord but Noussair Mazraoui’s shot was beaten away by Justin Bijlow.
After 21 minutes, the champions took the lead after confusion in the Feyenoord defence. While trying to clear a corner, Eric Botteghin hit the ball against Marcos Senesi and the ball rebounded into the net.
Just before half-time, Edson Alvarez gave away a free kick to Feyenoord in a dangerous position. From the following free kick, Alvarez blocked a shot on the line with his arm and was sent off. Leroy Fer stepped up to take the penalty but Stekelenburg dived to his left and made a smart save.
In the second half, Feyenoord searched for the equalizer, but their extra man advantage didn’t last too long as Tyrell Malacia was dismissed for a second bookable offence when he brought down Antony.
It went from bad to worse for Feyennord, who conceded another bizarre own goal when Devyne Rensch’s cross was turned in by Ridgeciano Haps in the 67th minute.
Erik ten Hag’s side added a third when a swift break saw Mohammed Kudus slot home with 11 minutes remaining.
What it means
With two games left, Feyenoord sit five points behind Vitesse, who also lost 3-0 on Friday against Sparta Rotterdam. Vitesse need two more points to clinch fourth and an automatic Conference League place, while teams who finish between fifth and eighth will have to enter the play-offs.
Ajax have 82 points from 32 games and have won 26 of those games. They have scored 96 goals and conceded just 21.
PSV remain second after easy win against struggling Willem II
PSV and AZ Alkmaar are still in a fight for the Champions League qualification rounds that is awarded to the team who finishes second.
Roger Schmidt’s side faced a struggling Willem II side who are fighting to stay in the Eredivisie. Without attempting a single shot during the whole game, Willem II didn’t come close to a result.
After almost half an hour, Donyell Malen opened the scoring for PSV. In the second half, PSV only needed five minutes to extend their lead. The header by Denzel Dumfries deflected off Willem II defender Derrick Koehn and the visitors coasted to victory.
AZ hold on after red card
It was harder work for AZ, who edged past Fortuna Sittard 1-0 after playing with 10 men for nearly half of the match. After 29 minutes, AZ took the lead when Albert Gudmundsson scored a penalty. But things turned when AZ defender Ramon Leeuwin was sent off.
Fortuna Sittad were better in the second half but AZ held on with 10 players to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
What it means
PSV stay second with 68 points, a point ahead of AZ with two games remaining.
PSV also have a better goal difference with +37 to +29 for AZ.
Willem II have lost four of their last five, and are just a point above FC Emmen, who are in the relegation play-off position. Just three points separates the bottom four in the table with two weeks to go.
Featured image: Jurgen Ekkelenkamp of Ajax, David Neres of Ajax and Mohammed Kudus of Ajax celebrate. (Photo by Gerrit van Keulen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)